Monthly Archives: August 2014

Cheese Rellenos with Hatch Green Chiles


I felt like I had to point it out that I’m making Cheese Relleno’s with Hatch Green Chiles.

I was so excited when I saw them at the market last week.  There is such a short window when they are fresh and available and since my three Anaheim Chile plants did very poorly this year, we’ve not had Chile Relleno’s for quite awhile.

I know I’ve posted about how to make Relleno’s before, but I thought I would just go ahead and tell you all about how to make them again.

First off, you need to char the skin off, and I told you how to do that the other day.
Next up is the batter and the cheese.
Batter up!
Sorry got confused there, but these would be great after a baseball game, a little too messy to eat there though.

I made us five Relleno’s from the wonderful chiles I found at the market.   The rest are safely tucked away in the freezer for a few more meals.  I did count how many I had prepared though, 42.  Which by my reckoning means 8.4 meals.   I’ll probably use the extra two chiles in some Chile Verde later on.

Peel and seed however many chiles you’re making for dinner.  Pat them dry, and set aside while you make the batter.

Batter:
5 eggs, separated
5 tablespoons flour

Beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold in the flour, carefully.

And there you have it, however, I hate to waste the yolks so I add in about half of them.  Stir the egg yolks together, and add a little at a time, or just dump them in like I did, whoops.

Folding very carefully.   Set aside.

Chiles and Cheese
Slice some Monterey Jack cheese into finger size or larger chunks.   Measure against the chiles, and make them just a tad narrower than the chiles you’re stuffing.

Pick up a chile, and place a piece of the cheese inside.

If you’ve ever put a sock on a toddler or infant,  just think of stuffing a little foot inside of a sock or shoe.   You need to be careful of the foot and the sock.

Don’tcha just love that claw like hand, clutching the green chile?
Prepare each chile, then dredge in a little flour,

then dip into the batter and place in an oiled pan.  I found a trick this time, I picked the chile up from the batter with my meat fork, and then put it into the pan.  Worked like a charm.  Can’t believe I hadn’t tried that before.

I use about 1 tablespoon of oil per chile.  Cause that batter is like a sponge and it soaks up the oil like you wouldn’t believe.  I love my cast iron pan for this.  It holds the heat and yet, because it’s well seasoned, it also doesn’t stick.

Cook over a fairly low heat for a few minutes until one side browns, then flip over and cook the other side.  If my batter is too thin, I’ve been known to drizzle a little more batter on the uncooked side, just before I flip it.  Take out of pan after browning and continue until all the rellenos are cooked.

Serve with your favourite enchilada sauce.

See that lovely oozy cheese in there, sooo good.
We just eat it like this, but you can always make some rice and beans and serve alongside.

Hatch Chiles


I kinda, well almost,  got carried away last week.

OK, so I maybe bought a little much, but we’ll use it all.

I’m talking Hatch Chiles from New Mexico.   They’re only on for a short while, and when they’re gone, they’re gone.

I was in the ‘big’ city and decided to check out a ‘new to me’ market.

As I drove up to it, there was a huge sign in the window.    Hatch Chile Day was going to be held on Saturday.   Well, it was Friday when I saw the sign, and there was no way I was going to drive 60 miles just to attend a Hatch Chile Day, the next day.
So…
I went in the store figuring that if they were having this extravaganza the following day, that they would probably have a few chiles in stock.
They did.
I bought a bunch.  I would have bought more than I did, but I knew I had limited space in my freezer, so I only purchased just over 8 lbs.

Which is enough for a few meals for us.
Guess what we’re having for dinner soon.
*giggle*

At any rate, it’s been a long time since I’ve had such a gracious plenty of peppers, the three Anaheim pepper plants I planted this year have yielded very little.   I think I’ve picked 5 peppers so far, really pitiful.

The Chiles’ I bought last week are huge, I mean really big, three of them will be more than enough for a dinner for the two of us.
My mouth is watering as I type this.

I got out my trusty camp stove, hooked it up and proceeded to char the skin on all those chiles.
What a job.

 

And you do need to do this.  The skin is pretty inedible. I have done this in the oven, but don’t care for how ‘cooked’ the chiles get.
After charring, I put the chiles into a ziploc bag, so they can ‘sweat’.   It makes it a whole bunch easier to remove the skin if you do that.

I then cut the end off, and remove the seeds, and the stem.

 

You can also take a paring knife and scrape the skin off as well.

All ready, well, almost.  I usually take a paper towel and wipe them down at this point.  But if  there are a few little blackened charred bits left, that’s OK, they just add to the flavour.

And if there are any pesky little bits of skin still clinging, I just work the tip of the paring knife under and take it off.

These Chiles are ready for step two, which is to be made into Chile Relleno’s with Cheese.
I’ll go through the steps for that later on.
I need to go and put the rest of the chiles in the freezer for future meals.

And here’s a tip.  Go ahead and freeze the chiles as is, charred skin, seeds and all in a single layer.  After freezing, stick them into a ziploc bag, as many as you’ll eat for a meal, and when you’re ready to use them, take them out of the freezer and run them under some warm water for just a second or so, and the charred skin will wipe right off.   You might still have a few pesky hanger ons, but the most of it, just wipes away.  You can then cut the ends off, and pull the seeds right out.

Gotta go make dinner now, but wanted to let you know what I was up to.

Chicken Balls


I finally done did it!
I made some incredible, just like the restaurant, Chicken Balls.
I’m so happy.

Honestly, I think I need a life.
Nah.

Sorry, I got side tracked, again.

I love Chinese food, but as I said before, I live 30 miles away from the nearest Chinese restaurant, in either direction.    And to think I used to just take running out to get Chinese food, casually.  sigh.
But that’s OK, it just makes me stretch my cooking chops.
Did that make sense?

Well, for years I’ve experimented and tried and failed to make a good, light, crisp coating for one of my husband’s favourite dishes.
Chicken Balls with Sweet and Sour Sauce.
I nailed the sauce years ago, but the coating for the Chicken Balls, well, let me say, we’ve eaten a lot of marginally good chicken balls, and a few recipes have been offerings to the Kitchen Goddess.

Not any more.

I nailed it.

I found this recipe by Kittencals on Food.com  Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls 
And I will never, ever, ever make them any other way.

Recipe:
1/2 cup all-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. sugar
1 clove garlic, mooshed through the garlic press or
1/4 tsp. garlic powder or more to taste
1/2 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons Cold Water
Oil for frying.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into pieces
or
2  boneless pork chops cut into pieces.

Whisk the first 8 ingredients together and let sit for a couple of minutes, while the oil is heating.  If you have a Fry Daddy, use it.   I have a Fry Baby, and it heated the oil perfectly.   If not, then heat the oil to 375 deg. in a pot, and monitor it carefully.    The oil should be at least 2 inches deep.
Cut the meat into small pieces, and dip them into the batter, and then into the hot oil. Let them cook for a couple of minutes, until golden brown, remove and let drain in a sieve or on something where the oil can drip off.

Serve with Sweet and Sour Sauce, Chow Mein and Ham Fried Rice.

I have to say, this was so good.   I actually did one chicken breast and one pork chop.   And there was just enough batter.   And more than enough for the two of us.  There probably was more than enough for 3 or more people.  But I like leftovers, so…

I’ll probably play around with this a little more, but for now, my mouth was happy.  Very happy.

I think this could also be made gluten-free, using the cornstarch and some gluten-free flour.   I’ll be experimenting with it later on.

And the Ham Fried Rice.

Well, I do it my way as well.  Cook the rice and set it aside to cool.  Chop up some ham, and half an onion.  Saute the onion in a little oil, just til soft, add the ham, stir it around a smidge, then add the rice and some soy sauce.  Fry it for a couple of minutes, then add a half cup or more of bean sprouts, and stir together.  Serve with some chopped green onion on top, and even a little egg.

Chow Mein


I never used to like veggies, and in fact, like most kids I would look at certain foods with a great deal of suspicion.   And would refuse to try it, if it didn’t look ‘right’.

My parents would then counter with the argument, “How can you tell you don’t like it if you don’t try it?”

I bet you’ve had that argument with various members of your family as well.
Go ahead, admit it.

Well, before I was allowed to say “I don’t like it”, I had to eat at least one bite.  I still don’t like cooked peas, but because I tried one bite, I was allowed to say “I don’t like them”.

I did that with a  lot of veggies.  Squash, cauliflower, broccoli, cooked carrots, cooked peas…

But, at least I tried them.

And now, well, let me just say this, if my Mom could see me now.

I love veggies, pretty much any kind you care to put in front of me, I’ll eat.  Still not too fond of plain cooked peas, but…

Which leads me to this dish.

Chow Mein
To be honest, I haven’t had this in a long time, but I’ve been trying to eat cleaner, healthier and even though this is part of a larger meal, at least I’m eating veggies.

And since I’m also craving some Chinese food and the nearest Chinese restaurant is 30 miles away, I’m going to make my own.

Chinese food that is.

I’m making some Chicken Balls with Sweet and Sour sauce, Ham Fried rice, and this, Chow Mein.

Chow Mein (Sid style)
2 stalks celery, sliced on the diagonal
1 carrot, cut into coins, on the diagonal
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, sliced into slivers
1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup Chow Mein Noodles
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. Sesame Seed Oil
1 sliced, cooked chicken breast or cooked pork chop if desired.
Sesame Seeds to taste and garnish

Saute the celery, carrots, onions, mushrooms in 1 tbsp. oil, til just barely cooked,

add the 1/2 cup chicken stock, and Soy Sauce,  then stir in the Chow Mein Noodles,

 

and put a cover on.  Let steam for about 4-6 minutes,

then add the fresh bean sprouts and the cooked, sliced pork chop and stir in quickly.
Fold in 1 tablespoon Sesame Seed Oil.   Serve immediately with a sprinkle of Sesame Seeds.

 

 

You might have noticed, I didn’t add salt.  The Soy Sauce has enough salt in it.

To make this totally vegetarian, you can use vegetable stock instead, and to make it gluten free, just use some bean thread noodles or rice noodles.

This is my plate from last night.  Some Ham Fried Rice, and hiding under the sesame seeds, the Chow Mein, alongside some totally awesome Chicken Balls.

I kinda like Sesame Seeds…

And I got to eat the leftover Chow Mein for breakfast.
It was a pretty balanced meal.   Veggies, carbs and protein.

Kiksekage (Danish Biscuit Cake)


Want to make something sinfully delicious, rich and soul satisfying?

Have I got a recipe for you.

If you’re a chocoholic, it’s all  that and more.

I’m talking Kiksekage here.   I made one a few years back, and brought it to Boat Club, but this was in my pre-blog days and all I have left of that experience is a dim, sweet memory and no pictures.

 

I know I have no pictures of it cause I just checked.

I have lots of pictures of my dogs playing on the beach and in the water from that time period, but no pictures of the Kiksekage.

Of course at that time we were ‘homeless and living on the beach’.

Just kidding about the homeless part, we lived in a very nice fifth wheel, but didn’t own a house at the time.    And as I recall, it was hot at the beach in the summer, but we loved it.  And because it was hot, and I didn’t want to cook I happened to make this for a Boat Club potluck that one time, and the fact that Boat Club that year fell on my birthday, well, gee, it was a no-brainer.

It’s been 4 years, and I want another one.  So, since it’s my birthday, I’m going to make one.  And take it with me to NPA tonight.  Gotta share out some of those calories.

I saw this recipe over at the Danish Kitchen, and then I made it my own.  Cause I can.  Well, I kinda followed it mostly, but did put my own twist on it.

Recipe:
8 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate
1 1/3 cup Heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier  (opt.)
7 Tbsp. Butter, cut into chunks
7 oz. Butter Biscuits  I used Pepperidge Farms Chessmen Cookies, but you can use Lorna Doone as well.

Topping:
1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream, whipped with a tablespoon of sugar.

Break the chocolate up into a large bowl, set aside.
Heat cream and confectioners sugar until boiling, making sure to stir the pot from time to time so that it doesn’t scorch.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, let sit for a couple of minutes then mix it together with a whisk.  You want the chocolate to soften just a tad so you can mix them together.

Add the Grand Marnier if you want at this point, stir together.   Then add the butter, stirring until it dissolves into the butter.   Place in fridge for a half hour, just to start it to thicken.

In a loaf pan, cut and place parchment paper, one piece lengthwise, the width of the pan, then another piece crosswise, extending it up the sides of the pan.
Unwrap and sample the cookies.  Well, I guess you really don’t need to sample the cookie, but if you want to try one out, you can.
I did.
Take the chocolate out of the fridge and stir it, making sure it is well blended.
Spoon or pour a layer of chocolate onto the bottom of the pan, making a nice layer.

Smooth it out to keep it level.   Place cookies in a single layer across the bottom of the pan, then spoon more chocolate on top.  Make another layer of cookies, more chocolate, then a third or even fourth layer of cookies, making sure you finish with the last of the chocolate.

Place a piece of cling wrap over, and put in the fridge overnight.

Then go and lick the bowl the chocolate was in, just make sure no one’s looking.   I won’t tell if you won’t.

The next day, take the parchment paper by the sides and carefully remove the cake.  Peel back the sides of the paper, and unmold onto a serving plate.

Cut into slices, and serve with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipping cream.

 

I did say I was taking some to NPA, so I cut them into slices, and I’ll be sharing them soon.

Smoked Kipper Dip


I’ve been busy organizing or rather re-organizing my pantry.  I’ve got wire shelves in there and I had all the glass bottles in little bins and on trays and it was getting just a tad crowded.  I really should have taken more before pictures, but…  When I get in the zone, I have to do it.

At any rate, I have those wire shelves and after talking it over with my DH, decided to try putting something solid down over the wire shelves, to hopefully make a more stable base for, oh gee, glass bottles.

In other words I was tired of waiting for something especially sticky to fall off of a shelf and shatter on the tile floor inside a room that’s so narrow you couldn’t even swing a hamster in, it’s so small.  Not that I would want to…
But it is big enough for an awful lot of stuff. sigh.

My DH suggested either masonite or luon (?) and then as we talked, I realized I had some cardboard boxes that could be re-purposed as shelf liners.    So, I spent the weekend going through the pantry, reacquainting myself with my food, discarding some things that  had expired,  sigh.  Not that many though, I do rotate most of my food purchases on a timely fashion.

And what has all that got to do with Smoked Kipper dip?

Glad you asked.

I got an email late yesterday inviting us to a birthday celebration, and thanks to my pantry re-organization, and general cleanup, I found a tin (I hadn’t forgotten about them), of smoked kippers.

I’ve been saving them for a special occasion.

I have.

Really.

OK, so I was going to make some scrambled eggs and kippers for breakfast one day, I just hadn’t actually gotten around to it

Yet.

Smoked fish dip is very popular down here and I’ve had some really good ones, and some not so good ones as well.   But, I like to learn how to make my own stuff, so…
Here’s my attempt.

1 tin Smoked Wild Kippers, 6.7 oz. size, drained
8 oz. Cream Cheese
3 oz. Creme Fraiche
1 tsp. Colmans Mustard Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Horseradish
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. dried Tarragon
2 finely minced green onions
1 clove garlic

Mix everything together but the kippers, add them at the last.

Mix gently to combine.

 

Place in fridge for at least 6 hours, you want the flavours to meld and merge together.
Taste and correct any seasonings.

Serve with a sprinkle of parsley or other green herb on top, alongside your favourite crackers.

And last, but not least, here’s my reorganized pantry.

I may be doing some more re arranging, but that can wait for another day.
I’ll post some pictures of the food from the birthday party another day.  Gotta go and reorganize another cupboard.

I’m on a roll, and don’t want to stop the momentum…